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Daniel

One of Obama's main points was that we can't legislate from religious beliefs because nobody interprets religious tenets in quite the same way.

Dobson's point was that Obama wasn't interpreting religious tenets properly.

I think that's going to be tough to spin for Republicans. Not that they won't. And not I won't be surprised by the millions of people who emphatically repeat what they heard on talk radio. And by the media's cautious endorsement of Dobson's argument. What the hell was my point again?

MikeT

Most of the liberal preachers have actually read the Bible and take it seriously, so they focus more on their own sins than those of others.

hysperia

As a Canadian, I have in the past been both put off by and curious about what seems to me to be the place of God-talk in politics-talk in America. It just doesn't happen in the same way here and, though I respect the rights of others to their religious freedoms, it is a relief to me to have political ground that isn't caught up in religious controversies that I am not only not interested in, but that I often find just plain offensive. Politics is offensive enough without adding religion.

But the difference with respect to religion in our otherwise similar (in so many ways) cultures did fascinate me. In conversations with friends, both dismay and perhaps awe, though not of the jealous kind, flavoured our ignorance; as in, WTF is THAT about?

I'm still no expert but, having immersed myself in the blogosphere for the last three months, and thus in US politics, and thus in the ubiguity of God-talk, I now take the conversation for granted. Almost. I haven't lost my desire to understand what it's all about.

I haven't done an academic study on it, but I have noted that I don't think this "Christian nation" stuff was present at the "Founding". A blog called American Creation has helped with that. Seems it's possible that the founding of America was, at some point in its history, recreated as an act of God. Likely I can't quite hide my sarcasm at this point; sorry. What I did learn from that blog was that George Washington DIDN'T include the words "So help me God" in his inaugural oath, likely because he was concerned to maintain the division between Church and State.

But this is what still confuses me. In a country founded so obviously in part as a reaction to the imposition of dominant religious beliefs on minorities and in opposition to hegemonic religious regimes in Britain and many other countries, I don't understand why the notion that God is as American in politics as apple pie, Mom, babies, flag pins and so forth is accepted with so little debate. It's not JUST because most Americans BELIEVE in God. From what I understand, most Canadians believe in God too. But he's not an inevitable part of our political discourse.

Believe it or not, I'm not writing all this just to hear myself think. Whatever one's views on religion, I think this is an interesting American phenomenon and it's likely quite important to try to understand what it's all about. One question that plagues me: it seems it's possible for a woman and a black man to have a shot at the American Presidency; and a Catholic, once and barely; is it possible for a Muslim, Mormon, Wiccan, Jew, Rosacrucian or that unmentionable, atheist?

P.S. I'm not a radical atheist.

Former Brit

To our Canadian friend: Jews and Catholics might have a shot at the presidency; but I'm sorry to say the other guys -- especially the atheist -- don't have a prayer. Modern American politics has moved a long way from the Constitution's "...no religious test for public office...." And speaking of the Constitution, the writers were reacting to our own Colonial history as well as to Europe's hegemonic religious regimes. The early colonies were led by Puritans, not a notably tolerant group. So the God-talk, unfortunately, is as American as apple pie, etc., etc.

cebm

I cannot forget the excerpt from one of Dobson's books about how he chased his wienie dog around with a belt determined to win the battle (his words). Oh yeah, and the part about fathers showering with their sons because the boys should see what was coming their way in the manhood department. This guy is a major sicko.

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